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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary
Southwest State University

Financial Audit For the Period
July 1, 1995, through June 30, 1998


Public Release Date: August 19, 1999 No. 99-43


Southwest State University was authorized by the 1963 Minnesota Legislature as the state's only four-year liberal arts and technical university. In 1967 the university opened its doors. Southwest State University is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, which began operations on July 1, 1995. Southwest State University has approximately 3,200 students and is located in Marshall, Minnesota. Dr. Douglas Sweetland is the university's president.

Audit Scope and Conclusions

Our audit scope included a review of the university's financial management, tuition and fees, room and board revenues, employee and student payroll, selected expenditure areas, and miscellaneous revenues for the period July 1, 1995, through June 30, 1998. We also reviewed the college's internal controls over compliance with federal student financial aid for fiscal year 1999.

We found that the university designed and implemented internal controls to provide reasonable assurance that financial activities were properly recorded. The university operated within its financial resources and had an appropriate relationship with its related foundation. Generally, the university provided reasonable assurance that money in local bank accounts was adequately safeguarded. However, in two months, local bank account balances were not properly collateralized. The university designed internal controls to provide reasonable assurance that it managed student financial aid programs in compliance with legal requirements.

Generally, the university designed and implemented controls to provide accurate recording of revenues, payroll, and other expenditures. We identified some weaknesses in internal controls over tuition and fee adjustments, entry fees, and administrative expenditures. We also noted that the university's access privileges to computerized accounting and payroll business systems were not adequately restricted.

In its response, Southwest State University generally agreed with the audit findings and is taking corrective action to resolve the issues.

More Information

Office of the Legislative Auditor, Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155 : or 651‑296‑4708